Lawmakers in Washington D.C. introduced new legislation Thursday focusing on federal standards for mental health services. Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin was there, speaking at a national press conference.
Sheriff Gootkin updated NBC Montana from Washington D.C. after the conference. He said he spoke about the benefit of community crisis centers, and the need for resources in rural communities.
He told us centers like Bozeman's Hope House leads to safer communities and saves taxpayers money.
But, he said, there aren't enough of those resources in the rural areas of Montana.
The Excellence in Mental Health Act would require community crisis centers to offer certain services, like crisis response and stabilization.
Sheriff Gootkin said the bill would allot funds for those services.
"There are a lot of smaller counties that don't have the 24/7/365 mental health like we do" he said. "Maybe in the future we can try and get some of this money to regionalize it in Montana."
Sheriff Gootkin also told us he met with Senators Tester and Baucus on Thursday to talk about teacher safety training- like use of defense tactics and tasers- and whether federal funds would be available to help with that.